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The Old Bean Counters Don’t Cut It Anymore

beanWhen you think of the stereotypical accountant, you may picture a scene out of “Office Space,” where employees punch away at keyboards in grim cubicles and fill their balance sheets. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article[1], employers are saying “I’m gonna need you to go ahead and… do a lot more than that.”

These days, financial positions, from the CFO to entry-level accountants, are becoming less focused on simple computing and numbers and more about the strategy and what to with those numbers.

A recent survey by the Institute of Management Accountants and the American Productivity & Quality Center found leadership, forecasting, strategic thinking, cost management and financial reporting are some of the skills most lacking in today’s financial professionals. Eighty-one percent of the finance and human resources hiring managers surveyed said planning, budgeting and forecasting skills were “quite a bit” or “extremely” necessary for their organization to succeed[2]. Those same respondents said only 30 percent of entry-level financial professionals possess those skills[3]. The stats were worse for leadership skills: 77 percent of respondents agreed leadership ability was a necessity for entry-level finance professionals, while only 14 percent of respondents said those employees had it[4].

The increasingly complex business landscape, with tighter regulations, requires financial professionals of all levels to have a wider range of skills. Not only do businesses want employees to have the ability to develop and explain a balance sheet– they want employees to be able to analyze data and present it in layman’s terms to colleagues.

Luckily, financial professionals have many technology options at their disposal to help them learn how to harness the value of big data to benefit their organizations as a whole. Learn more about how human capital management (HCM) platforms like ADP SmartCompliance® can help financial professionals drive strategic growth for their companies.

Learn More About ADP SmartCompliance®

The information provided in this blog post is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing accounting, legal, or tax advice.  The information and services ADP provides should not be deemed a substitute for the advice of any such professional.  Such information is by nature subject to revision and may not be the most current information available.


[1] “The Plain-Vanilla Accountant Goes Out of Style,” Wall Street Journal, 19 May 2015.

[2], 3, 4 “The Skills Gap in Entry Level Management Accounting and Finance,” American Productivity & Quality Center and the Institute of Management Accountants, p. 7.


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